"Keeping the Hydrants Clear..."
In the early days of firefighting, getting the wet stuff onto the red stuff was a task. As noted in a previous column, bucket brigades were recognized as the best method of firefighting and "stand pipes" were positioned and attached to the municipal water systems. Freezing weather became an obstacle to fight the fire and to prevent a frozen line; traditional fire plugs were covered with manure, tanbark or straw. As the plug evolved to the hydrant, above ground nozzles were configured to avoid mud, snow and ice. Visiting Chicago, last year, Bill Auten forwarded a picture showing an antenna attached to a hydrant in case of heavy snowfall. Years ago, our snow shoveling duties included sidewalks, driveways and removing accumulated snow from the hydrant on our property